Sunday Mass: “Why Do We Have to Go?” (Part Two)

Recently, I posted about the challenge of convincing our children that going to Mass is a priority in our lives, especially when they push back and tell us that it’s boring or that they don’t get anything out of it. Rather than trying to convince them that it will be fun and exciting, it is more important that we concentrate on helping them to appreciate the deeper reasons why Sunday worship—the Eucharist—is so central to […]

Sunday Mass: “Why Do We Have to Go?”

We’re all familiar with the question that children ask when we are taking them somewhere they are excited about: “Are we there yet?!” Unfortunately, when it comes to taking our children to church on Sunday, the question often turns into, “Why do we have to go?” It can be challenging for parents who want their children to develop an appreciation for the centrality of Sunday Eucharist, when they receive “push-back” instead of enthusiasm. Try as […]

Increasing Mass Attendance, Part Two

One of the biggest frustrations that catechists and Catholic school teachers have is the lack of Mass attendance of those they teach (and their families). Recently, I shared a story of a parish that made some significant, albeit short-lived, gains in Mass attendance—64% to be precise. That post has generated a lot of attention. First, thanks to the many folks who engaged in conversation at the end of that post. (Please take the time to […]

Increasing Family Attendance at Mass: What Works?

Since buying a lake house in Wisconsin a year ago, my wife and I spend most weekends away from our home parish, Christ the King, in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago. So, recently, when I attended Mass there, I was surprised that the crowd seemed bigger than usual. Sure enough, in the parish bulletin that week, the pastor, Fr. Larry Sullivan, wrote about what he was thankful for in 2017, and one of the top […]

The Six “Be-Attitudes” for Inviting Someone to Come to Mass

People who come to Mass infrequently tend to “PACE” themselves by going to church on Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Christmas, and Easter (P-A-C-E). So how can we reach out to our friends, family members, and those we work with who are not practicing their faith? The answer is surprisingly simple. According to Lifeway Research, 51% of unchurched Americans say the most effective way to get them to visit church would be through a personal invitation […]

Encouraging Family Mass Attendance One Family at a Time

Those of us who serve in the ministry of catechesis know the disconnect that exists between religious education and families who do not attend Sunday Mass. How do we get parents who drop off their kids at faith formation classes but do not attend Mass into church on Sunday? We can try gimmicks, requirements, scolding, and guilt, but the only thing that will get families into the pews is conversion. I’d like to share one […]

Going to Mass Is Liberating

As those of us responsible for adult faith formation seek strategies for responding to people—especially Millennials—who see little or no reason for going to Mass, here is one approach we might want to consider: stressing that going to Mass is not only a statement of faith but is also a statement of liberation. For the people of Israel, liberated by God from oppression through the Exodus/Passover event, proclaiming that “God reigns” was not only a […]

Preparing Students for Mass

My class of third graders attends Mass once a week with the rest of the school. Because I work with young students, I find that discussing and practicing what we will experience at Mass can be comforting for them. We start our preparation in our first class. We practice praying the Sign of the Cross. With this simple prayer, I ask them to slow down and concentrate on the movement of their hands. Next, we […]

Reviewing the Mass Before Christmas

I love the excitement, expectation, and joy that is abundant in my class as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth. As we get ready for Christmas with crafts and cookies, I also prepare my students for Christmas Mass. Many of my students do not regularly go to Mass, and they aren’t familiar with the Order of the Mass. I find that everyone benefits from a review of what happens at Mass before attending with their […]

Four Tips for Making Connections Between the Mass and Class Discussions

One of the boys in my group asked, “Do you go to church?” We were discussing the Mass, and he seemed genuinely surprised when I told him that, yes, I do go to church for weekly Mass. He admits he only goes to church occasionally, and he, like many kids in our programs, is more the norm than the exception. I don’t have the secret formula for how we change this trend and encourage those […]

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